The project, which features new bridges with an additional lane, began in spring of 2018 and is expected to conclude before the end of 2019.
Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is in the final year of a $41M project to replace three aging bridges on I-80 in Tooele County, Utah. The project, which features new bridges with an additional lane, began in spring of 2018 and is expected to conclude before the end of 2019.
UDOT is replacing the I-80 eastbound bridge over Union Pacific Railroad tracks; the I-80 westbound bridge over UPRR tracks; and the Tooele Interchange (S.R.36) bridge over I-80 at Lakepoint.
The project will increase capacity for future travel demand and to improve safety for drivers. I-80 will be widened to accommodate a future I-80 third lane. A third southbound lane will be constructed on SR-36 from the off-ramps to Sunset Blvd. This will move more traffic through the signal at Saddleback easing the backups on I-80.
Funding for the project is provided primarily through federal sources.
The new bridges are part of an effort to upgrade the quality and durability of the overpasses.
In April of last year, a single lane was closed on westbound Exit 99 during construction. There were single lane closures in both directions of I-80 on the Black Rock bridges to patch the bridge decks and fill potholes. The I-80 bridges were originally constructed in 1967. The SR-36 bridge was constructed in 1971.
The SR-36 flyover bridge is approximately one mile west of the I-80 bridges. Lakepoint is an unincorporated community on the eastern edge of northern Tooele County.
Black Rock is not a town, but a well-known large rock on the beach of the Great Salt Lake adjacent to I-80.
Granite Construction Co. Awarded Contract
Granite Construction Co. offers a range of construction services, such as paving, building, land development and designing. It is one of the largest heavy civil contractors and construction materials producers.
The company produces sand, gravel, ready-mix and asphalt concrete and other construction materials.
Granite is involved in both design and construction of the new I-80 and SR-36 bridges.
About 15 subcontractors will be used on the project. Major names include Harris Rebar, of Pomona, Calif., for reinforcing steel; Utah Pacific Bridge & Steel of Lindon, Utah, for steel girders; Olsenbeal, of Lindon, Utah, for erection of steel girders; Forterra Structural Precast of Salt Lake City, for concrete girders and deck panels; and AAA Barricade Co. of Lehi, Utah, for traffic control.
SR-36 Bridge Over I-80 at Lakepoint
Most of the initial work was on the SR-36 bridge over I-80 at Lakepoint.
"Crews have begun construction of temporary walls on I-80 and have put down temporary paving," said Courtney Samuel, information specialist of UDOT. "I-80 will be fully complete in 2020."
Ground settlement was necessary before the SR-36 work could start. The overpass bridge project appeared inactive for several weeks, but it was in a ground settlement phase. That meant the ground under the bridge had to settle before work could continue.
"Settlement for that bridge required approximately six months of surcharge," Samuel said. "Surcharging allows the soils in the embankment and sub-grade to sufficiently compact prior to bridge construction and prevent further settlement once the structure is in place. Settlement after bridge construction can result in uneven transitions onto the bridge, which can cause undue impact, especially for trucks."
Two methods were considered for installing new bridges over the railroad tracks.
Under one the existing bridges would be demolished and the new bridges would be slid into place, one at a time. However, a second method was selected.
"A bridge slide was briefly considered, but UDOT eventually selected a method to build a temporary bridge on the south side of I-80 alongside the eastbound lanes of traffic in each direction during the bridge construction," Samuel said. "Crews will shift westbound traffic to the existing eastbound lanes and in turn, eastbound traffic will be shifted to the temporary bridge. This approach will allow for crews to construct the new bridge efficiently with the least impact to the many travelers who commute between Salt Lake and Tooele counties."
UDOT is working with the Union Pacific Railroad to obtain permits to construct the temporary bridge and overall improvements. So, a timeline has not been set when actual work on I-80 will start," Samuel said.
Samuel said the new bridges are sized to provide an additional shoulder width for added safety for travelers and to allow for the potential for future added lanes and I-80. I-80 currently has two lanes in each direction.
Steel and Concrete
The bridges will be constructed primarily of steel and concrete.
The I-80 eastbound and westbound bridges will be constructed with welded steel plate girders. The SR-36 bridge will utilize pre-stressed concrete girders.
All other components of the bridges, including the deck and piers, will be constructed of reinforced concrete.
Traffic during peak travel periods is not expected to be impacted during construction. Planned closures are only allowed at night during off-peak hours to accommodate significant construction activities.
"I-80 is a vital conduit for travelers between Salt Lake and Tooele counties and UDOT is committed to construct the project with as few impacts as possible," Samuel said.
He said UDOT is continually monitoring the condition of bridges throughout the state.
"UDOT will continue to evaluate the need to replace other bridge sin the area as the need arises and will weigh replacement with other rehabilitation and preservation options such as bridge deck replacement, pothole patching and concrete repair," Samuel said.